Jun 23, 2007 2:02am
Happy Birthday RH
& Many Happy Returns
Whatever you're doing today, wherever you are, whoever you're with, we wish you a wonderful day.
The heart of gold band salutes you and celebrates with you, poetry, music, life and ourselves.
With 66 years upon his head, I wouldn't blame him for feeling the 'weight of accumulated years' but I wish for him each passing year is a rebirth - with his 'seeing' ears and his 'listening' eyes, poet, musician, a real human being.
"There’s no one in the world who writes quite like Robert. He’s a great storyteller, and he has a way of showing his roots in bluegrass and old-time folk music that has its own unique twist. His lyrics are so literate yet so accessible, and they make for these great, one-of-a-kind songs. His songs read like poems, they’re so perfectly put together. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. Just reading his words and the natural rhythm of the lyrics would inspire the music. There’s just something magical about them. Robert’s such a gracious, down-to-earth person, but I hold him in such high regard that I still have a hard time believing that this is happening. I liken it to working with George Jones or Ralph Stanley, two of my other heroes. In my opinion, he’s in the Mount Rushmore of musical greats. He’s contributed so much powerful music to his generation. Jerry and Robert's work together is possibly the very best collaborative catalogue in all of American music. Dead fans know all about their genius, but I've always wanted the people who never really dug The Dead's music, to get how absolutely amazing Jerry and Hunter's songs are." - Jim Lauderdale on his collaboration with Robert on 'Headed for the Hills'.
"Listen to the words of the poet Robert Hunter. For eons other words of his have been sung and will be sung for many eons yet to unfold, as long as the need for music doesn't die.... Forget all those songs, especially forget those songs that have become old friends. Cast them out! Settle in and fall prey to the wicked treat it is to listen to the solitary, lonely voice. Let Hunter's words wash over you, sully you, burden you down with their meanings and twists, clean you, wilt you." - David Greenberg.
Some words from the man himself -
"I believe that the sources of the Grateful Dead's music, or at least what I did with Jerry, tend to rely heavily on Appalachian roots. The child ballads of England and Scotland... somehow managed to make it over here to the Appalachians. The music was intact. It became American music. When radio first started happening, they got these old folks in front of the mic who were still playing that absolute raw Appalachian music, and it gradually became the country music. And the bluegrass music also evolved out of those roots.
"This is the living root, as I see it, of American popular music. "What I did -- very much with Jerry's blessing -- was to write our own Appalachian music... I would write lyrics that felt right to me, based on the traditional ideas that I knew, like 'Julie catch a rabbit in the air, get on back where you belong ...' And that sort of stuff comes naturally to me.
"If you can even manage to tell exactly what a song is about, all you do is put that song in a box forever and it loses its evocative power. A song doesn't happen as a whole verse; it happens linearly, line by line, almost word by word, phrase by phrase. And if each phrase, each line, has a proper emotional feel and connects to the line before it and the line after it, the song will be doing what it should be doing. And that's we're looking for. We're not looking to put a coherent short story in someone's head. That's a different craft. It's called prose.
"I walk away from writing what I consider to be a good song - with a good character, a good story in it -- with all I'm gonna really get out of that song. My greatest pleasure is to create it, not to record it, not to hear anyone else play it, though that can be nice too. Or to hear it done in a way I never thought about hearing it."
"I'm detecting sort of a sickness at the soul of American music right now. People moving to the city, straining the roots, making commercial enterprise out of music that was back porch or played in small halls, shindigs... it'll do it to anything eventually. But if it's solid, as I believe Appalachian roots are, the people will champion them best they can. The music is strong enough, just as long as it's not forgotten."
"Synchronicity. There's a large element of what we do that we have no control over. We have to beg off from what's happening -- it isn't us that's doing it, we're only like tools through which it's happening. And it's okay. We have faith... Our music is never counting. For us the One is always Now. In time -- whether it's 7/4 time, 4/4 time, or whatever -- we're always coming back to the One." - Jerry
Thanks Robert for keeping the faith.